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Website Optimization: Fixing Website Performance Issues


Sep 13, 2013

How to Fix Website speed issues

The question of how to fix website speed issues is a core aspect to online marketers and webmasters. The ability to correctly identifying what is going wrong with a webpage and work around it or otherwise fix the problem is critical in the effort of creating optimized, effective sites that will rank well given Google’s analytical approach to website page ranking. Research has shown that there is a strong correlational relationship between search engine optimization efforts, online marketing, and the need to maintain a cleanly-coded and fast response time website. Indeed, time to first byte (TTFB) metrics are an important tool used by Google in order to accurately reflect the page accessibility of users. As such, ensuring that a website is optimized properly is at the forefront of modern efforts aimed at exploring and understanding the ways in which Google operates in order to create high ranking page lists.

That said, there are seven major areas that websites can focus on in order to increase their overall speed and efficiency. These areas are the time to first byte, the keep-alive, GZIP text, compressed images, the use of progressive JPEGs, static caches, and the use of CDN. Between these various areas, room for improvement can be found for virtually all sites, and only a handful of sites are perfectly optimized to match Google’s analytic and semantic approach to page analysis. Moreover, there is some discussion as to whether or not sites should be overly optimized in lieu of working more on content, as an over concern on the importance of speedy loading may reflect a desire on behalf of merchants to focus their efforts more on playing the game of search engine manipulation than actual content production and originality.

First Byte Time

First byte time, or time to first byte, is a metric used to gauge the time it takes for the page to process the front-end requests of the user. In effect, it measures the time that is needed for the server, socket, and SSL negotiations to operate efficiently. A low time to first byte usually indicates a well-optimized site, well-versed in efforts at increasing page response time. At the same time, a fast response time with regards to this specific metric can also mean impressive hardware and structural support of the site, which is indicative of the ways in which larger corporations and people will access to large-scale funding will be capable of acquiring the best equipment available on their back-end in order to enhance their own time to first byte metrics. All in all, time to first byte is one of the most effective optimization efforts that can be undertaken by developers and webmasters interested in increasing their sites loading speeds.

Wesite Optimization

Persistent Keep Alive

The second factor that can help webmasters and developers that are thinking about how to fix website speed issues is the “keep-alive” protocol, which is, simply put, a message sent between two pages, devices, or links that checks whether or not all objects from a domain are alive and operating and whether or not the coding headers therein contain a “keep-alive” directive that verifies the integrity of the host. The keep-alive signal means that a connection is forged between two signal receivers, and that link should be not severed unless at user command. Functionally, keep-alive links exist solely to make sure that sites are well integrated into their peers and offer a constant amount of low-level traffic aimed at guaranteeing the integrity of the links. These signals are, by definition, very small and aimed at only maintaining that certain should be preserved and not subject to connection timeouts.


The third method that can be used with regards to how to fix website speed issues is that of GZIP compression. GZIP text effectively condenses the fundamentally inefficient and redundant nature of HTML tags and coding into a cohesive, compressed file that allows browsers to integrate far simpler and far more fully. The page itself looks identical to the one stored on the server, but the consumer does not know that the GZIP compression has, in fact, removed and consolidated the HTML coding temporarily in order to website page loading speeds.

In effect, GZIP allows the consumer to visit a webpage, use their browser to request a file, page, or some form of code from the site, and then receive a compressed file in return. This compressed file is faster to download and easier to access, resulting in overall increased rates of page loading and much happier consumers. Moreover, GZIP compression is easy to implement, and does not pose any risks to the merchant that are not already present in the original HTML coding.

Progressive JPEGs

How to fix website speed issues can be complex, but using progressive JPEGs is not, and is one strategy that is highly important in the digital age. The need to compress images is critical for companies that use images on their webpages. The suggested format for quick and easy loading is JPEG, which allows for much smaller versions of images to be used without sacrificing quality in any noticeable amount. While it can be argued that certain sites, perhaps photography or graphic design companies, may not want to store their large-scale pictures and images online in JPEG format, commercial companies will not find any depreciation in the perceived image quality present when contrasting JPEG to other image formats.

Even better, JPEG is specifically optimized and designed to allow for successful integration into online portfolios, meaning that JPEG images can achieve a 10:1 ratio of compression with comparatively little loss of quality. The various resolution and specific color settings of JPEG can be found elsewhere, but suffice it to say that the development of this image format is perhaps one of the best developments for the overall speed and ease of access for online companies that deal with images in their online portfolio.

Image Compression

The fifth method is to compress all images available on the website into their proper formats. While JPEG is the default for many of images, there are times when other forms and formats are necessary for specific reasons and cases. PNG, for example, may be needed in specific instances where the quality of the image is of serious concern. Even with this in mind, all images absolutely must be compressed in order to effectively optimize the website site and its respective image-carrying pages for quick loading and indexing. Without compressing images, webmasters and developers run the risk of keeping their visitors being forced to load incredibly large and perhaps irrelevant images for no reason other than a failure to optimize their site properly.


Browser Caching of  Static Assets

The sixth method is to cache static. This is an important factor in website optimization, especially in regards to how to fix website speed issues. Once a user requests a webpage be delivered to his browser, the computer then downloads the relevant information from the server and the page can be generated. This, however, means that there is room for optimization once the HTML itself (usually in a compressed GZIP file) has been transferred. The room for optimization arises in the field of static files and other scripts that, for various reasons, are not altered or simply cannot be without disrupting the vital functions of the website. These files are relatively small and do not place a terribly large strain on the operating power of the website itself, but there is nonetheless always room for optimization in this regard.

Here, it is important to note the importance of making sure that the server is capable of bundling many cached static files into one single entity, which reduces the likelihood of a server running into a brick wall with regards to operating at peak efficiency. Servers can reject connection requests if they feel that the IP address sending them may be spam-based in nature or otherwise subject the requests to a process called serialization, which allows the server to parse through the individual requests one by one. Static caches are created when browsers, in effect, store the files that are transferred and do not delete them. These files are only transferred again or modified if they do not match the ones that are stored externally on the server of the webpage itself.

Static caches, then, offer browsers the ability to store many of the necessary files for the operation of websites internally and avoid costly time delays when it comes to page loading.

CDN | Content Delivery Network

The seventh and last method aimed at how to fix website speed issues is to use a CDN, or content delivery network. These systems allow webmasters and developers the ability to store their server files on many different networks and files and spread the load of system strain externally. These networks, then, are typically used to store static files in the form of scripts, media files, and other miscellaneous data. The benefits of content delivery network include saving valuable storage space on a company’s own domestic internal devices as well as diversifying the physical location of a firm’s storage materials. Overall, the use of a CDN can be an effective and useful tool in the management of a company’s online presence and can help to increase page loading speeds.


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